The Montreal Canadiens (8-6-1) face the surging New Jersey Devils (12-3-0) on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
The Canadiens will aim to extend their three-game winning streak, but it will be a difficult task given the New Jersey Devils are one of the best teams in the entire league this season, and are working on an impressive winning streak of their own.
With nine straight wins, the Devils are currently third overall in the league, just four points behind the league-leading Boston Bruins with one game in hand.
Their fantastic start extends to the road, where the Devils have only lost one game in five attempts.
Powered by a very impressive top-six, which includes former Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar, the Devils own one of the most potent offensive groups in the league. With 3 goals and 8 assists in 15 games, Tatar has found his scoring rhythm on the first line, playing alongside the first-overall pick in the 2017 Draft, Nico Hischier.
In addition, the Devils’ second line, which features the team’s leading scorer Jesper Bratt and another first-overall pick in Jack Hughes, can break the game open with their offensive prowess and high-end skill level.
The Canadiens’ rookies will face one of their biggest tests of the year in attempting to shut down one of the teams in the league with the most offensive depth, though there might be a silver lining for many of the forwards that are attempting to earn more minutes under head coach Martin St-Louis.
As it stands, the Devils have two goaltenders on the injured reserve, including starter Mackenzie Blackwood, however, it should be noted both Vitek Vanecek and Akir Schmid have performed admirably in his absence.
Captain Nick Suzuki has scored 12 points in his last 7 games and will be tasked with leading the Canadiens’ offence, though he may receive some secondary scoring from players such as Evgenii Dadonov and Brendan Gallagher, who probably deserve a few more points this season given how well they’ve been playing.
Both Joel Armia and Jonathan Drouin will be kept out of the Canadiens lineup due to upper-body injuries, however, Juraj Slafkovsky returns to play following a two-game suspension for his hit on Matt Luff.
The bottom six will look a little different than in previous games, with both Slafkovsky and Michael Pezzetta slotting into the lineup.
Veteran defenceman Mike Matheson is still wearing a blue, non-contact jersey at practice, which indicates he’s nearing a return but is not ready for game-time action just yet.
- Jonathan Drouin (upper-body injury, day-to-day)
- Joel Armia (upper-body injury, day-to-day)
- Emil Heineman (IR)
- Mike Matheson (IR)
- Carey Price (LTIR)
- Paul Byron (LTIR)
- Mackenzie Blackwood (IR)
- Ondrej Palat (IR)
- Jonathan Bernier (IR)
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines
|Cole Caufield||Nick Suzuki||Kirby Dach|
|Juraj Slafkovsky||Sean Monahan *UNCONFIRMED*||Josh Anderson|
|Evgenii Dadonov||Christian Dvorak||Joel Armia|
|Michael Pezzetta||Jake Evans||Rem Pitlick|
|Joel Edmundson||Kaiden Guhle|
|Mike Matheson||Johnathan Kovacevic|
|Arber Xhekaj||Jordan Harris|
New Jersey Devils Projected Lines:
Tatar – Hischier – Zetterlund
Haula – Hughes – Bratt
Sharangovich – Mercer – Boqvist
Wood – McLeod – Bastian
Siegenthaler – Hamilton
Graves – Marino
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Montreal Canadiens||17.1% (29th)||79.1% (12th)|
|Seattle Kraken||26.0% (8th)||66.7% (30th)|
- This is the first of three meetings between the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils this season.
- Nick Suzuki leads the Canadiens in scoring with 10 goals and 9 assists in 15 games.
- Kirby Dach’s excellent play on the top line has carried through the week. He now has 4 goals and 10 assists this season.
- Michael Pezzetta will play his third game of the season for the Canadiens.